Media Release

Crop returns highlight value of agriculture and challenges faced

11 February 2014

Production across leading Australian cropping regions provides a stark insight into both the national value of agriculture and the significant challenges it faces in any given season.

Following today’s release of the Australian crop report by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said this financial year total winter crop production is estimated to have increased by 17 per cent to 44 million tonnes, the second largest winter crop on record.

“Western Australia had a particularly strong winter, with production up 55 per cent. The surge in crop production happened to coincide with an ebb in the mining boom–suddenly we’re reminded that agriculture is a traditional pillar of the Australian economy,” Minister Joyce said.

“It’s fantastic to see producers poised to make such significant returns to our economy when conditions are right.”

On the other hand, poor conditions have seen the summer crop planting area drop by 15 per cent across the country and total production by 25 per cent on last year’s results. For summer crops this financial year, grain sorghum production is forecast to decline by 36 per cent, rice production by 22 per cent and cotton by 8 per cent.

“The unfortunate reality is that many growers in areas experiencing poor conditions have seen returns decline across both seasons,” Minister Joyce said.

“Despite the strong winter season overall, winter crop production is estimated to have declined by 14 per cent in NSW and by 20 per cent in Queensland—areas that will also see significant declines in summer production.

“Our hearts really go out to those families doing it tough this year. In many cases their commitment to Australian agriculture isn’t measured in years, but generations.

“The value of that commitment is clear in the long term. We need to ensure that it’s not broken in the short term.”

For information on assistance measure for farmers, visit the Department of Agriculture website.

The Australian crop report is available at under publications, ABARES.